Look around where you are right now. I guess you are reading this on the big screen of your computer at work, sitting in your height-adjustable office chair, coffee mug right next to you. Or maybe you are at the library, checking facebook, using their free wifi during a study break. Unless you are already home for the day, cuddled up on the couch in your pajamas with your iPad, freshly delivered pizza in the still warm box sitting on your lap.
Wherever you read this, I am betting you are knee deep inside your comfort zone.
I’ve been there. Often times I still am. But then I remember that I must leave it.
Before convincing YOU to leave it, I would like you to do one thing. No worries, you won’t have to get up (yet). As in the article I talked about, rate your happiness on a scale of 0 to 10. Where do you land? Look at the important areas of life:
Motivation – are you excited to get out of bed in the morning? Do you wake up 1 minute before your alarm goes off and say: “Let’s do this!”?
Exercise – are you working out regularly? Do you walk a lot during your day? Did you take the stairs or the elevator this morning?
Diet – what did you have for your last meal? If it included “Frosted”, “Sweetened” “McSomething” or “Fried”, you might want to look at your dining choices again.
Initiative – is your brain quick and sharp? Did you do the crossword this morning? Can you solve an integral by hand? When is the last time you found a creative solution for a problem at work? Does your bank account reflect your work in appropriate numbers?
Calmness – are you anxiety-free? Are you afraid about what the cute co-worker from the office next door said to her friend about you in the kitchen? Do you wake up at night, worrying about tomorrow?
Come up with a number for each of those categories. Add them up, divide them by 5, and you will get your average number. A rough estimate of your happiness.
Now: Tell me your number.
(Seriously, do tell me!)
If it’s a 7 or higher, kudos! You will feel right at home here, maybe we can get together some time and exchange ideas!
If it’s anything less, then you have all the more reason to stay.
Because here is a secret:
As wondrous and useful as all these modern comforts we rely on are, they sometimes actually keep us from being happy.
Case in point:
While, according to Wikipedia, office chairs are indeed ‘adjustable to provide the maximum comfort’, guess who originally came up with the idea?
He put wheels on his chair in order to be able to work faster and investigate even more specimens. The guy spent 5 years on a ship, facing earthquakes and seasickness, studying natural history and geology – topics no one remembers him for today – and worked so much that it almost killed him on multiple occasions.
Sounds pretty uncomfortable to me.
Here’s a quote from the man: “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
How about facebook? Invented by a guy who learned programming when he was 10. The only thing I learned when I was 10 is how to get Charmander to evolve to Charizard.
The guy also wouldn’t let people eat during work marathons. Very uncomfortable.
And the iPad? Work of a man who battled cancer with all his power multiple times, in order to push the human race forward.
He spoke publicly for as long as possible. His last major keynote took place only 122 days before he died.
They stepped out of their comfort zone on a daily basis, so you can now remain in yours.
Was their life all rainbows and marshmallows? Hell no. But will or did they die with a smile on their face?
But what’s their lesson? I believe it to be the following:
It is not when we turn on the hot water in the shower in the morning for the 14237th time that we are most happy, but when we push our limits, learn to deal with something new, feel the burn in our muscles as they grow or go out of our way to help others.
The good news is that makes happiness very easy to find. Literally, all you have to do, is get off your butt and search for it.
You might have noticed it, if you add the initial letters of the 5 areas I mentioned, you will find they form the acronym MEDIC – with good reason. If you take care of yourself in these 5 areas, I guarantee you will truly become your own MEDIC – with the power of healing yourself, your health, your wealth, your love life, and, most importantly, your happiness.
That’s why all posts on this blog are put in one of these 5 categories.
No matter where you lack in the above areas, change one thing today, one tiny thing, and I promise you will be happier for it tomorrow.
Because you stepped out of your comfort zone – and that made you grow.
Now I’m not suggesting you jump out of a plane, run a marathon or solve a Millennium Prize Problem right away. But ask yourself this:
When did you last make a conscious decision to leave your comfort zone?
Decisions, such as:
- Taking the slightly longer way when walking to work.
- Actually walking to work or taking the bike rather than the car.
- Having your coffee without milk and sugar.
- Putting on 5 kg more than your regular working out weight, just to see if you can do it.
- Eating your fries without ketchup, or the burger without the fries, or even go vegetarian or vegan for a full day.
- Reading a book on genetics or rocket science.
- Finding out according to what formula your bank account’s interest is generated.
- Writing a full page by hand, no matter what the topic may be.
- Thinking of a clever way of asking out the girl you have been sitting next to all week.
- Calling an old friend whom you haven’t talked to in years, and saying thank you for the good times you had together.
What is the one thing you can do today, to make a small step outside of your comfort zone?
There is nothing wrong with starting small, Rome wasn’t build in a day, as they say.
What’s the worst that could happen?
You don’t like it, and you go back to things the way they were before. And sometimes you will. But sometimes you won’t.
No matter what the outcome might be, your brain will reward you with dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin and a few other happiness hormones.
It will be the brain’s way of saying: „Thank you for trying something new, thank you for leaving your comfort zone and learning something today.“
Every step outside of your comfort zone is a step towards happiness.
Use the contact form to tell me your happiness number and let me know what step you are going to make outside of your comfort zone today!
PS: The single greatest uncomfortable thing you can do today is to sign up to my email list. You’ll get actionable, weekly strategies for personal growth, minus all the fluff.